Having a bun in the oven is both exciting and exhausting at the same time. Fatigue sets in as your energy levels decrease due to hormonal, physical, and emotional changes. Some of these changes include the increase in estrogen and progesterone levels, disrupted sleep, as well as stress and anxiety.
If you prepare for your baby’s arrival in advance, you can sit back and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy as your belly grows bigger. Remember to get as much rest and ‘me time’ as much as possible before your little one arrives, because once the baby’s here, you will be busy during the first year!Here are 6 tips I’d like to share with you to help you prepare for ‘D-Day’:
1. Hospital Bag - Pack in Advance!
Pregnancies normally last between 37 and 42 weeks. Your estimated date of delivery (EDD) is rarely accurate as data has shown that a baby is born on its predicted due date just 4% of the time. More than 90% of babies are born two weeks before or after the predicted EDD.
Before you get whisked off to the hospital, prepare a bag to bring along with you. Packing your hospital bag early enables you to have a peace of mind in the unexpected event that you have to deliver your baby earlier than your EDD.
During one of my routine check-ups in the evening after work, my obstetrician discovered that my amniotic fluid level was low. She instructed me to return the next morning to have my baby induced. I was caught by surprise because my EDD was still a week away. Fortunately, my hospital bag was already three-quarters packed.
Here’s what went into my hospital bag!
- A going home outfit for baby (onesie/mittens/socks/swaddling cloth/hat)
- Toiletries (toothbrush/toothpaste/facial wash/shower gel/shower cap/hair tie)
- Nursing cover (for nursing mothers)
- Electronics and Entertainment (camera/video camera/laptop/tablet/handphone and chargers/a book/games/playing cards)
- Hospital documents
- Identity cards (for both my husband and I), and original marriage certificate (as we had planned to register our baby’s birth at the hospital). However, birth registration is now available online through the Moments of Life App
- Contact list for announcing baby’s birth
- My favorite snacks/drinks
If you have prepared a birth plan, remember to bring it along with you. I had already communicated my birthing preferences to my obstetrician beforehand, so I didn't have to bring one along with me.
I couldn’t sleep well that night because I was anxiously anticipating the arrival of my firstborn child.
2. Baby Clothes and Accessories - Buy or Borrow?
If you don’t mind hand-me-downs, you can borrow baby clothes and items from your friends or relatives. Babies outgrow their clothing quickly, so it may be wise not to spend too much on these items.
I borrowed some baby clothes from a friend and also bought some new ones, which were reserved for special occasions and picture taking sessions.
This is the list of items I prepared for my baby:
- Swaddle (both the zip-type and wrap-around type)
- Baby bodysuits/onesies. (8 sets for a start)
- Mittens + booties + hat
- Baby bath towel
- Wet wipes
- Diaper rash cream
- Diaper changing mat
- Burp cloth
- Washcloth for bath
- Baby hair & body wash
- Baby bibs
- Baby nail clippers/scissors
- Baby laundry detergent
- Pacifier + Pacifier clip
- Insect repellent
- Baby massage oil
If you are not planning to breastfeed, you may consider trying different brands of formula milk to find out which brand best suits your baby. I would suggest for you to buy a small tin of formula milk first, then observe your baby’s stool output and reaction to the brand of milk. Change the brand of formula milk for your baby as you deem fit. Once you have found a suitable brand of milk, you can purchase larger sized tins of formula milk. Some companies offer free milk samples upon request, you may wish to google for ‘free milk sample’ and submit your request to a few companies.
3. Baby Nursery - Keep it Simple and Safe!
Designing and decorating their baby’s nursery can be an enjoyable process. It is important to keep in mind that the design of your baby’s nursery should be safe and practical. These are the essential items which you should prepare in your baby’s room:
- Cot bed/ travel cot
- Waterproof mattress cover
- Night light
I used a Graco Pack n Play Playpen (which was recommended by my sister) for all of my three children. It is portable, has an integrated diaper changing station and a removable bassinet attachment. I used the bassinet when my baby was younger so that it would be easier to reach him and pick him up. In this configuration, there was ample storage space at the bottom portion of the playpen to store diapers, baby swaddles, and toys for my baby. As my baby grew older, I removed the bassinet attachment and let him sleep on a mattress on the lower portion of the playpen.
Another tip I would like to share with you is to place a night light or a lamp with dim warm light in your baby’s nursery. The lamp with dim warm light came in very useful when I had to feed my baby or change his diaper at night. Bright florescent light would awaken a baby, and trust me, that would be the last thing you’ll want to do.
4. Feeding, Bathing, and Playing - For a Healthy and Happy Baby!
A well-fed baby is a happy baby. Most babies love their bath time and playtime too! Play is important because it helps your child develop physical skills and experience new sights, sounds, activities, and feelings, all while having fun!
Here’s a list of items related to feeding, bathing, and playing, which you can prepare before the birth of your baby.
- Milk bottles
- Bottle brushes (large and small)
- Bottle Liquid Cleanser
- Baby bathtub
- Baby rocker
- Playmat/activity gym
- Baby toys/books
- Baby carrier + drool pads
- Car seat
- Cooler bag and ice packs (for nursing mothers to transport breast milk)
- Formula milk, small tin (for non-breastfeeding mothers)
- Hot water flask
A baby’s immune system is not fully developed, making babies more susceptible to infection and illnesses than an older child or adult.
It is recommended to sterilize baby feeding bottles and feeding equipment for babies under 12 months of age to kill bacteria and viruses. There are a few ways to sterilize the items: boiling, steaming, or using chemicals. I borrowed a steam sterilizer from a friend to sterilize my baby’s bottles and pump parts. I found it more convenient as opposed to boiling the feeding equipment. There are also ultraviolet (UV) sterilizers that sterilize and dry the items, use less electricity, have a larger capacity and allow for other household items (such as toys) to be sterilized too. However, UV sterilizers usually come at a hefty price. Do some research and find out which sterilizing method and equipment best suits your needs.
Having a baby can be costly. Save money on items whenever you can! Check with the hospital you plan to deliver in if a baby bathtub will be given to you upon discharge, so that you wouldn’t have to buy one if they do. The hospital where I had delivered my baby issued me with a baby bathtub when I was discharged from the hospital.
Babies simply love to play. Well, who wouldn’t? Expose your baby to different sounds, music, and objects of different colours, shapes, and sizes. Besides playing and singing to my baby, I also kept my little one entertained by placing him on a playmat/ activity gym. The toys dangling from above encouraged him to reach for them, grab and kick them. That look of excitement on his face was priceless and I’m glad I managed to capture the moment on camera!
The playmat can also double up as a surface for your baby to have tummy time when he is awake after a diaper change, bath or nap. Tummy time involves laying your baby down on his belly on a mat on the floor in a flat area. Tummy time helps your little one to build strength in his head, neck, arms, and shoulder muscles. The amount of tummy time will vary according to your baby’s age.
5. Out and About - Transport your Little One Around Safely!
Taking your baby out of the house for a breath of fresh air is great for both you and baby. Besides using a baby carrier, a stroller will come in handy if you plan to take long walks with your baby. Should you plan to buy a stroller for your baby, do consider the following factors: the weight of the stroller, ease of folding the stroller, storage basket space under the stroller, rain cover, sunshade, cup holder. Some strollers may not be compatible with these accessories.
All vehicles in Singapore must have booster seats or child restraints for passengers under 1.35 meters in height for safety reasons. Do read some reviews before purchasing a suitable car seat for your baby. You may want to consider getting an infant insert or head support for the stroller/car seat because your baby’s neck muscles and head control will not be well established until he turns about six months old.
6. Preparation for Mummy - Let's talk about YOU!
There are some things you should prepare for yourself before delivery. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Comfortable loose clothing
- Maternity sanitary pads
- Sterilized cotton balls + wound wash
- Diaper bag
- Breast pump (for nursing mothers)
- Hands-free pumping bra (for nursing mothers)
- Nursing clothes (for nursing mothers)
- Nursing bra (for nursing mothers)
- Nipple cream (for nursing mothers)
- Breast milk storage bags (for nursing mothers)
- Breastfeeding pillow + waterproof/spare pillowcases (for nursing mothers)
- Breast pads (for nursing mothers)
After you deliver your baby, you will not be able to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothing just yet. You can continue to wear your maternity clothes or prepare some loose-fitting clothing for maximum comfort.
For nursing mothers - if you are breastfeeding your baby, you may want to consider investing in a breast pump. A breast pump will provide stimulation to increase and maintain a sufficient supply of milk, and occasionally relieve you from feeding your baby on demand. During growth spurts when my baby would nurse for more than an hour at one stretch, I would pump breast milk, so that my hubby could feed our baby while I got some rest. My baby drank faster from a milk bottle and would fall asleep faster this way too.
There are manual (hand-operated), and electric (mains- or battery-operated) breast pumps available. As I was planning to express milk regularly, especially after returning to work, I invested in a double electric breast pump. Do consider getting 2 sets of pump parts especially if you plan to express milk frequently.
Here’s my last tip for you: a hands-free pumping bra holds the breast pump funnels and bottles in place so that your hands can be free to operate the pump or grab a cup of tea! I purchased two of these so that I could use one while the other was being washed!
Last but not least, do get as much rest as you can while your bun is still in the oven. I hope that you have found the information useful and I wish you a safe and smooth delivery! Enjoy every minute with your baby because, oh my, they grow up in the blink of an eye!
If you enjoyed the blog article above, you can read the full version of my Journal Article here for more information and tips!
Are you looking forward to meeting your little bundle of joy? To help you prepare yourself for life after delivery, I’ll share my first-hand experiences during postpartum recovery with you in this article! I'll also discuss about the changes to your body, how to identify signs of illnesses, and provide some breastfeeding tips and advice on how to overcome the challenges in breastfeeding! Journal Article: 6 Tips for Postpartum Recovery.
CaregiverAsia provides Confinement Nanny, Babysitting and Home Cleaning services. Sometimes, mummies can use an extra pair of helping hands too!
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